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Last update: 02-05-2005
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Legal professions - Greece






Graduates of law schools may be appointed as judges if they are successful in the relevant competition (oral and written examination) and successfully complete a course at the National School of Judges. For ordinary civil and criminal justice, the entry-level grade is associate judge of a court of first instance, rising to judge of a court of first instance, president of a court of first instance, judge of an appeal court, president of a court of appeal, judge of the Supreme Court (Áreios Págos) , vice-president of the Supreme Court, and president of the Supreme Court. There are also ordinary administrative courts, with similar grades, rising to the Council of State, or supreme court of administrative law, and the Court of Auditors, which mainly audits public spending.

Justices of the peace are a special category of judge in the field of civil and criminal justice: they enter the profession following an oral and written competition, and rise to justices of the peace class A, B, C and D.


Prosecutors work in the field of ordinary and criminal justice, and enter the profession and rise through it in exactly the same way as judges do. Under the Greek Constitution, judges and prosecutors are appointed “for life”, meaning that they continue to serve even if their courts or offices are abolished. There are 1 559 judges and 524 prosecutors in Greece.

Judges and prosecutors are subject to the Organisation of the Courts Code, which makes provision for their conditions of service, duties and promotion, and contains clauses governing their liability, conduct and performance. The Code also contains provisions on disciplinary councils and disciplinary penalties.



Court clerks (dikastikoí ypálliloi) must be successful in a public competition, following which they may serve in any of the courts and prosecutor’s offices in the country. Their appointment is “permanent”, meaning that they serve only as long as their courts and posts exist. Their conditions of service are governed by the Civil Service Code and provisions relating specifically to their profession.


Bailiffs (dikastikoí epimelités) also serve in the courts of the country. Their appointments are usually permanent. Their function is to handle documents and serve summonses, decisions and court documents in general. Their conditions of service are likewise governed by the Civil Service Code and specific provisions.


Notaries (symvolaiográfoi) are unsalaried public officials. They are appointed to existing places following a public competition; their main duty is to draft contracts, wills, memoranda of agreement etc. Their conditions of service are governed by the Notaries Code, and they are organised in professional associations of notaries.


Mortgage registrars (ypothikofýlakes) are generally unsalaried public officials. They are appointed to existing places on the basis of special entry requirements and public competition. Their main function is to keep registers of: a) real estate mortgages and foreclosures, b) deeds of conveyance and c) court actions and other steps taken in connection with real estate. They are organised in professional associations.



Lawyers enter the profession by competition and are organised in bar associations, one for each court of first instance. The profession is subject to the Lawyers Code, which regulates disciplinary law, fees and advancement in status in general. They must also comply with a Code of Conduct and the rules of the bar associations. They are initially admitted to the courts of first instance, after which they practise in the courts of appeal and in the Supreme Court, depending on how long they have been in practice and the type of cases they accept.

Under Presidential Order 152/2000 to facilitate practice of the profession of lawyer on a permanent basis in Greece by lawyers who obtained their qualification in another Member State of the EU (Directive 98/5/EC) , lawyers who are nationals of Member States of the EU may practise on a permanent basis in Greece, in either a self-employed or a salaried capacity. They must have obtained their qualification in another Member State. In Greece, they must register with the bar association and keep chambers in the area in which they practice. They are required to present:

  1. a letter from a public or administrative authority proving their nationality;
  2. a certificate showing whether they have any criminal record, and a certificate of registration and professional status from the competent authority in their country of origin which issued their professional qualification or from another competent authority in their country of origin, issued within the last three months, stating its purpose and giving particulars of their admission as lawyers, any advancement in professional status, any disciplinary rulings against them and any penalties imposed; applications refused are open to appeal before the Council of State within 60 days of notification of the refusal to the interested party or his or her agent at an address in Greece;
  3. their professional title, clearly stated in the language or one of the official languages of their country of origin;
  4. the registered name of their professional organisation in their country of origin, or the name of the court before which they are entitled to appear under the law of their country of origin.

Lawyers whose application for registration is accepted are subject to the same obligations and have the same rights as Greek lawyers, but may integrate fully into the legal profession in Greece only once they can show that they have actually practised their profession on a regular basis in Greece for three years. During these three years, lawyers wishing to represent a client in court must be assisted by a lawyer entitled to appear before the court hearing the case. Acts or duties which Greek law considers to constitute an exercise of public authority may be performed only by lawyers of Greek nationality. The profession may be pursed jointly by one or more lawyers practising in Greece, under their professional title of origin, as members or associates of a grouping in the country of origin which has a branch or office in Greece.

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Last update: 02-05-2005

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